Angola To Privatise Angola Telecom, Appoints New Board

Image Source: Menosfios

The Angolan president, João Lourenço, yesterday named a five-man new leadership for its major telecommunication company, Angola Telecom(AT), in line with its plans to restructure the company and later in the year privatise the wholly state-owned fixed telco and mobile licensee, and major companies to gain more traction from investors to meet their target objectives and generate better revenues.

According to the decree signed and released during a press briefing, the board of directors headed by Adilson Miguel Dos Santos will consist of other members including António Sercal; Mandela Traffic Barros and innocence Natália Dos Santos.

Last year, Angola Telecom (AT), the country’s third licensed telecommunication provider was listed second out of the 55 companies in Angola’s public business sector with a cumulative deficit of 66 billion kwanzas (USD 173 million).

Figures released by IGAPE reports that Angola Telecom losses stand at a whopping sum of 35 billion kwanzas (over USD 90 million) and could be attributed to its past management committee placing a low initial priority on start-up mobile services rollout. These and other discrepancies such as the lack of reliable accounting records, non- payment of taxes and contributions to the State, among other problems, account for reasons for the move the Angolan president to restructure and privatise the company. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database reports 45% shares of the company is already up for sale.

Also in the list is TAAG Angola Airlines E.P. (Portuguese: TAAG Linhas Aéreas de Angola E.P.), the nation’s flagship air carrier, a publicly-owned company, in the first place, with a total loss of almost 100 billion kwanzas (about USD 260 million), a sharp increase over 2017. In the case of TAAG, the auditor stressed the need to recapitalised the company or it may be, “prevented from continuing its normal course of business.”

Other telecoms operators included in the Privatisation Programme are MSTelcom, Net One, Unitel, TV Cabo Angola, Multitel, Angola Cables and Angola Comunicacoes e Sistemas (ACS). Shares are also up for sale in telephone directory company ELTA and postal operator ENCTA. Broadband provider, MSTelcom (registered as Mercury Telecommunications Services), is a subsidiary of Sonangol (also up for privatisation) and has the fixed-wireless broadband operator, Net One, as its subsidiary. MSTelcom is also the holder of a 25% stake in Angola’s mobile market leader Unitel. Cable-fibre operator Television, Cabo Angola, is 50% owned by AT, and the latter also owns a 30% stake in corporate data services provider Multitel. Up-for-sale BCI-Bank of Commerce & Industry is a fellow shareholder in Multitel with 20%. Furthermore, submarine fibre cable operator, Angola Cables, is 51% owned by AT, with Unitel (31%) and MSTelcom (9%) also owning stakes in the international connectivity venture. Rounding off the list is partly-state-owned B2B broadband provider, ACS.

Despite its financial troubles and undergoing an asset valuation process ahead of the planned sell-off of a 45% ownership, Angola Telecom announced earlier in the year at a press conference, it aims to invest USD 12.6 million to roll out 4G LTE technology in five provinces before the sale tender later this year.

In 2014, the telecom company announced it was on track to make a profit for the first time in eight years after receiving a USD 314 million government bailout to fund debt payments and boost sales, but has continued to see a large downsize in its revenue.